The Feed: Sugarfire Smoke House Heats Up Downtown

Here’s what’s cooking in Indy this week.
» St. Louis-based Sugarfire Smoke House (24 W. Washington St., 317-493-1293) opened its first location outside the state of Missouri this week in downtown Indy. The fast-casual, counter service barbecue restaurant specializes in brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. The new location also offers Indiana-specific choices, including a fried pork sandwich, Hoosier chess pie, and the “Matt Meatrione,” named for Bloomington-born mixed martial arts fighter Matt Mitrione.

» Naked Chopstix (3855 E. 96th St., 317-569-6444) is expanding. Owner David Lee told the Indianapolis Business Journal he recently had a soft opening for Naked Chopstix Express (2902 W. 86th St.), with a focus on sushi and poke, and will open another Naked Chopstix next month in Carmel (365 W. 116th St.). Lee’s ex-wife, Maggie, recently sold the Broad Ripple Naked Chopstix location to Hua Li, who kept the restaurant open and changed the name to Captain Sushi. Li also owns Hirosaki (9086 E. US Highway 36, 317-273-8866), a Japanese steakhouse in Avon.

» Carmel’s own The Old Spaghetti Factory (918 S. Rangeline Rd., 317-708-9669) opens this week. This is the 44th location for the Portland-based restaurant chain and the second in Indiana. (Everyone’s favorite downtown location opened in 1982 at 210 S. Meridian St.). The Carmel location will be open for dinner on weekdays and lunch on weekends. A weekday lunch service is expected to be added later.

» Tulip Tree Creamery and locally owned Xchocol’Art are teaming up for a Mother of All Pairings Class, where participants will learn the art and science of pairing chocolate and cheese. Pick one of two different dates (May 1 or May 8), and get a tour of the Tulip Tree Creamery facility (6330 Corporate Dr., 317-331-5469), tips on how to pair food and wine with chocolate and cheese, and a custom curated set of four Tulip Tree Creamery cheeses and four Xchocol’Art chocolates. Tickets are $60 per person.

» Garfield Park Farmers Market is the first farmers market in the country to be 100-percent “Snail-Approved” by Slow Food USA and Slow Food Indy. The “Snail of Approval” award is given to businesses that meet specific criteria, including the use of seasonal ingredients, local and sustainable product sourcing, green business practices, humane treatment of people and animals, and investment in fair labor practices. This means that every participating vendor at the market is Snail Approved, a first for any farmers market in the United States. The Garfield Park Farmers Market was founded in 2015 by Ashley Brooks and Julia Woody, and opens for the 2018 season on May 5.

» Gary, Indiana’s 11-year-old Ben Watkins was a participant on season six of Fox TV’s “MasterChef Junior” for five episodes before being berated and dismissed by hothead celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Watkins’s appearance on the show was taped shortly before his parents, Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins, died in a murder-suicide on September 16. According to the Northwest Indiana Times, residents of Gary’s Miller neighborhood (where Watkins lived) are raising money to help send Watkins to college, where he hopes to study engineering. You can donate to the #LoveforBen campaign via this GoFundMe page.